Beyond the obvious importance to the region’s transportation future, one of the other benefits of the Denver Union Station project is the addition of several new public spaces to Downtown Denver. In particular, Wynkoop Plaza will be not only the largest of Union Station’s new public spaces, but potentially the best public plaza in all of Downtown.

The southern part of Wynkoop Plaza will feature a signature fountain: the pop-up water-jet type that allows kids (and adults and dogs) to play in the water on a warm day. People love interacting with water, and people love watching people interacting with water. Therefore, the fountain at Wynkoop Plaza is likely to be a hit with visitors and locals alike.

In case you haven’t seen some of the concept renderings of the Wynkoop Plaza fountain, here are a few (courtesy of SOM/Hargreaves Associates, the project’s design consultants). First, the larger context: the Downtown side of the DUS project and the south part of Wynkoop Plaza.


Ground-level concept views:


How is construction of Wynkoop Plaza and its signature fountain coming along? Here’s a shot I took this weekend:

Lots of serious fountain infrastructure there. That’s going to be one impressive fountain!

By the way, because I know some of you are going to bring this issue up, I’ll address it now. Denver doesn’t have a very good track record when it comes to keeping fountains in good working order on a long-term basis. Our typical fountain experience in Denver is like this: 1.) New public fountain gets built. 2.) Fountain works great for a few years. 3.) Fountain stops working. 4.) Fountain sits unused and in disrepair for a long time. 5.) Concerned citizens eventually say “What a shame. We should get this fountain going again!” 6.) Fountain repair fundraising and/or Denver bond issue ensues. 7.) Fountain gets fixed and works great for a few years. 8.) Rinse and repeat.

So what will be different this time? Well, that issue has been a primary focus of Union Station Advocates, an organization that I’ve been involved with for many years. We want to make sure that not only the fountain, but all of Denver Union Station’s public spaces are well maintained over the long term. Currently, RTD, the Denver Union Station Project Authority, and other stakeholders like Union Station Advocates and the Downtown Denver Partnership are working together to craft a funding and management plan for Wynkoop Plaza that will ensure that years from now, kids (and adults and dogs) will still be splashing around in the fountain at Wynkoop Plaza. Stay tuned…

Meanwhile, thank you to the 31 people who attended our walking tour of the Denver Union Station project yesterday! That was a great way to start of our 2013 tours of this exciting project. Our next tour is scheduled for Saturday, March 30, at 10:00 AM. More info on that as the date approaches.